Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Five words from the blurb: ghetto, poverty, mother, drugs, violence
I bought a copy of Random Family after reading a recommendation from Andrew Solomon, one of my favourite authors. Random Family is a fantastic snapshot of a community. It took 10 years of research and the result is a detailed insight into life in the Bronx. The families have to deal with violence, gangs and drug use and this book enables the reader to understand exactly what everyday life is like for them.
Unfortunately I found the text a bit too academic for my taste. Too many people were introduced and I found it impossible to keep track of them all. The detail was overwhelming and reduced the emotional impact of the horrors they were experiencing. It is perfect for anyone looking for a anthropological study, but it was too dry for me.
Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
Five words from the blurb: strange, man, society, sensual, depressive
Translated from the German by David Horrocks
Steppenwolf is about Harry Haller, a man who feels he doesn’t belong in the world. The book follows his aimless meandering and shows his depressive outlook on life. The writing was of a good quality, but I failed to connect with Harry. The endless bleakness of the text bored me and I wished that the plot was stronger. Much of the book reminded me of Hunger by Knut Hamsun, so if you enjoy one of these books I’m sure you’ll appreciate the other, but it was too depressing for me.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Five words from the blurb: adolescence, shadows, strange, world, mortality
I’ve enjoyed all of David Mitchell’s previous books so was looking forward to reading this one. Unfortunately it didn’t really work for me. There were some great individual passages, but I couldn’t connect with the book as a whole. Much of the dialogue felt very ordinary and it didn’t have the special spark that was present in Cloud Atlas. I found myself skimming large sections and never understood the purpose of the book. It was too disjointed, but this bothered me in a way it hadn’t with his earlier books because the individual stories weren’t interesting enough.